There are clear pollution guidelines for dealing with effluent in mining and industry, but complying with these regulations can be hindered by unreliability of the pumps used in the waste disposal process.

“The sump provides an unglamorous yet essential function in any industrial process or facility, because the removal of wastewater and process liquids maintains a clean and safe working environment, as well as allowing plants to comply with pollution laws,” explains Watson- Marlow Bredel SA general manager Nico van Schalkwyk.

“The liquid in the sump often contains grit, oil, rags and various items of debris. For many pump types, such abrasive effluent causes severe wear on the pump, while debris may block it altogether and has the potential to cause the sump to overflow,”he adds.

An increasingly popular solution to the problem is the peristaltic pump, due to its reliability and capacity to cope with debris without blocking. “Peristaltic technology is designed to handle difficult applications where its non-contacting pump mechanism wins over other pump types,” van Schalkwyk points out.

“Where conventional pumps use valves to push liquid through them, peristaltic technology employs pressing shoes to compress and release a hose. This means there is an absolutely clear path of flow with no valves, seals or glands, and therefore nowhere for debris such as rags and stones to get stuck.”

Watson-Marlow Bredel SPX peristaltic hose pumps are increasingly finding favour in demanding effluent disposal applications. Unlike the submersible pump, peristaltic pumps self-prime and can be mounted at ground level. This makes them comparatively much easier to access or maintenance than the submersible, which has to be kept under the fluid level.

“The SPX’s ability to achieve and maintain the specified flow rate is crucial to efficient flocculation. This, and the fact that it has no difficulty handling thickened slurries up to concentrates of 80% solids, makes it the ideal pump for these duties,” says van Schalkwyk. “Though not as cheap as your everyday submersible, it does, at the end of the day, provide a much more cost-effective solution.”